May 30 at 7:53 PM
I guess when you have lived a long time, as I have now, you have the perspective of watching the worst of history repeat itself before your eyes and are unable to do a thing to stop it.
I remember the original riots our country witnessed for four days in July 1967. In the NJ city of Newark, near where I live, a beautiful city founded by the Dutch in the 17th century, with beautiful architecture and many buildings on the Register of Historic Places, with a city park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same landscape architect of Central Park in NY City, and adorned it with more cherry trees than Washington DC; a city that was second in excellence only to neighboring NY City in school achievement and health care delivery accomplishments, and site of the State on New Jersey’s first state medical college, where I got my first job after college in the medical school library, launching my career as a research librarian in 1972, where I worked for several years, the foundation of a forty year career.
Newark and other NJ and US cities around the country endured four days of intense rioting in 1967. I was 17 that year, and I assure you the rage that provoked it may have been legitimate but the destruction the riots created almost 50 years later has never been recovered.
Ghettos are the legacy of riots, with the exception of the revived downtown areas, with big office buildings, sports arenas and performing arts centers. For some reasons, urban planners believe building office building complexes, sports areas and performing arts centers in an urban downtowns are a good thing but I don’t get it. It creates an illusion of prosperity that does not exist once you drive down a side street. Instead, I think riots further polarized and divided the races. They deepened despair that lead to drug abuse, eliminated jobs that never returned, created welfare states in the cities, and broke down family structure in the absence of the jobs that left never to return. I believe the riots had the unintended consequences of further marginalizing the races as it widened the income levels between Black’s and whites.
Fast forward to today. There have been many incidences of injustices against our Black human family members and they have never really stopped. Now, they have erupted into a country wide mass action of rioting once again 50 years later. 50 years……
Until we recognize we all belong to one human family where all of our lives are intertwined with and interdependent on one another, where one person’s sorrow or joy becomes our own, and every human life has equal dignity and worth and is blessed, rage, racism and riots will not stop.
Stephen Metzger, Yvonne McGehee and 27 others
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I remember the riot at Rahway NJ State Prison,in the 60s, my Dad was on duty and Mom and I feared for his life. Protests were here in Charleston SC, last night destroying many buildings. What purpose does it solve ? None !
Well said, Lorene.
I remember the riots. I lived in Newark at that time but on the other side of Penn station. The only part of Newark that was safe and still is
Lorene very well written.Stay safe in these sad times